New research shows that Eurostar has transformed the UK’s relationship with the continent

13 Nov 2009

14 November 2009 marks fifteen years of Eurostar
Eurostar, the high-speed provider of carbon neutral journeys between the UK and the continent, today released new research findings on the eve of its fifteenth anniversary which reveal the impact that Eurostar has had on the UK's relationship with the continent. 97% of respondents believe that Eurostar has brought us closer to France and Belgium and 87% are of the view that our lives have been significantly enriched by the social and cultural exchange that Eurostar provides.
Over half the people surveyed said that the speed and easy access of Eurostar for day trips, short breaks and holidays had had a huge influence on their lives and demonstrated the success of high speed rail. 89% of respondents said that if they were offered a job involving regular travel to the continent, they would be more inclined to consider taking it today on account of the ease of the Eurostar service.
Reflecting on our relationship with our French neighbours, one in five (21.4%) said that the UK and France "are getting closer all the time" whilst around one in three (32.9%) said that after fifteen years of Eurostar, the British view of the French is less stereotypical. One in five believes that "there is a mutual interest in our respective cultures" and over half describe our relationship as that of neighbours who are close "but maintain their own identity".
Eurostar began operating rail services between London and Paris, Brussels and Lille on 14 November 1994. Since then, journey times have been slashed by a third with the journey between London and Paris now taking 2 hours 15 minutes and London to Brussels 1 hour 51 minutes.
Richard Brown, Eurostar's Chief Executive, said: "There's no doubt that Eurostar has transformed our relationship with the continent and enriched lives on both sides of the channel. When we launched in 1994 we could never have foreseen that fifteen years on London would be France's sixth largest city and that people would be commuting between the UK and the continent. At a time when environmental concerns are top of mind, we have also played a key role in reducing our passengers' carbon emissions and will continue to do so over the coming years."
Sally Chatterjee, Visit London's Interim Chief Executive, said: "London welcomes people from all over the world and Eurostar has brought us much closer to our European cousins. London is a vibrant, cosmopolitan world-class city and the speed and convenience of Eurostar's city centre service means increasing numbers of visitors are flocking to London to enjoy our attractions, markets and events throughout the year."